jazz & blues music blog with news, reviews, concerts & more, with a Canadian focus

December 31, 2007

Vancouver Big Band Leader Dal Richards Celebrates Milestone(s)

Written by
cindy mcleod

jazz concerts, Canada

dalrichards

Dal Richards
River Rock Casino
Richmond, BC
Tonight!

Swinging Bandleader Marks 90th Birthday and 73rd New Year in Performance

Tonight Vancouver’s legendary big band leader Dal Richards will celebrate his 73rd straight New Year’s Eve by hosting the celebration at the River Rock Casino in Richmond, B.C.

The musician follows that with two shows to mark his 90th birthday, leading the Dal Richards Orchestra through performances celebrating the auspicious occasion on Saturday, January 5th at the Hotel Vancouver, and on Sunday, January 6th at the Orpheum.

Born and raised in Vancouver, Dal Richards has been a musician and bandleader for over seven decades. As a child he studied clarinet and saxophone, taking his first professional job at 17.

He formed his own band in the late 1930’s and by 1941 the Dal Richards Orchestra was appearing at the Panorama Roof at the Hotel Vancouver, where they remained for the next 25 years, the longest running dance band engagement in Canadian history. During those years, fans listened live while the Orchestra was featured in over 2,000 coast-to-coast CBC Radio broadcasts.

Taking a hiatus for a 15-year period when big band music lost favour to pop music in the late 60’s, Richards returned to school to gain his diploma in Hospitality Management, working within the hotel business in Vancouver.

As big band regained popularity in the 80’s, Richards rebuilt his Orchestra and has performed non-stop ever since. He also formed a 14-piece combo, which plays regularly at the Boulevard Casino in Coquitlam and the Pacific National Exhibition in Vancouver.

His radio work also continues as host of the twice-weekly local program, ‘Dal’s Place’, broadcast on Vancouver’s 600AM.

Through his efforts Richards has contributed to and enhanced the careers of six generations of British Columbia’s finest musicians, providing perhaps the most important experiential aspect of music education for young musicians – the apprentice/mentorship offered in a big band setting.

Richards received Tourism Vancouver’s Man of the Year award in 1985 and is a member of the B.C. Entertainment Hall of Fame. In 1993, he was given the Variety Club of B.C.’s highest honour, the Heart Award, and Variety Club International’s Presidential Citation Award. In 1995, he was appointed to the Order of Canada.

for more info visit www.dalrichards.com

Leave a Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.